The Philadelphia Phillies are in search of quality arms to help their rebuild after acquiring the services of Jake Arrieta this offseason. The Phillies believe that their young bats can get them through the season, but it’s the pitching rotation that could get them to the playoffs. With the signing of Jake Arrieta, the Phillies may make another move and bring back Cole Hamels, according to Tim Boyle of Fansided’s Call To The Pen.
Boyle would go on to discuss how the Texas Rangers have not done much to improve while still staring up at the World Series champion Houston Astros. Instead of getting quality pitchers to surround Hamels with, the Rangers let ace Yu Darvish walk out the door and decided to fill gaps in their rotation with average pitchers.
With Hamels set to make $22.5 million in 2018, the Rangers, if not in contention by the trade deadline, may look to move him instead of picking up his $20 million club option in 2019. Instead of a trade, the Phillies may just wait out this season and get Hamels when he hits the market in 2019 (if Texas doesn’t pick up an option).
Boyle would say that there’s a reason Arrieta and newly signed slugger Carlos Santana signed three-year deals this offseason. The Phillies, despite their youth, gave themselves a window to succeed. If they can get going in the right direction in 2018, then free agents would come crawling, much like the Sixers and the Eagles.
It’s not off-base to say that the Phillies could bring their World Series hero back home even at the age of 35. What could also work in the Phillies’ favor if they were to wait until next season is that they may get Hamels at a discount. If they trade him now, that’s $20 million plus. However, if they wait, Hamels could sign for much less.
Imagine a rotation that features Arrieta, Hamels, and possibly another top-tier pitcher. The Phillies, with their young bats, could challenge the Washington Nationals for top honors in the National League East.
One issue that Boyle did point out is that Hamels may be on the decline. Last season, in 24 starts, Hamels ERA topped out at 4.20, the second-highest of his career. But still, Hamels, even with injuries over the last few seasons, has still pitched 200+ innings eight times in 13 years.
Hamels on a discount in 2019 may be better than Hamels for $22.5 million. This is a decision the Phillies must make if the Rangers offer his services at the trade deadline.